September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6
By Lindsay Baillie
Bella Flooring Group represents a new approach to bringing products to market. That’s according to Matthew Syler, chief revenue officer of the newly formed company, who believes there is currently only a handful of companies with the ability to provide a broad spectrum of products to both the residential and commercial markets.
“I’ve seen importers try to bring just an LVT or hardwood product into the market and make it difficult for sales reps to be supported,” Syler explained. “The reps have to extend their geography too much to be able to find the number of sales they need to support themselves, and without the daily interaction with customers it can be very slow to start.”
What makes Bella Flooring Group unique, according to Syler, is it provides a way for multiple factories to come together into a single company and create what he calls a “manufacturing cooperative group.” Through this group, factories are able to participate by bringing their products to Bella Flooring Group, which then brings them to market. “We have a contracted sourcing team and lab where we help manage all the sourcing and testing for all products that are brought into the system,” he explained. “Our goal is long-term partnership and bringing the industry products they can rely on and be profitable with.”
To help build and maintain its partnerships, Bella Flooring Group is focusing on four key elements: reliability, sustainable inventory, value at the price point and building relationships.
“Reliability means after you install these products, you’re not going to spend much time going back and asking customers how they feel about them or having to worry about going back to repair them,” Syler said. “We work directly with our factories, and they have an equity stake in the performance of these products.”
In terms of inventory and value at the price point, Bella Flooring Group currently offers carpet tile—polypropylene and nylon—for both the contract/specified space as well as Main Street. The company also has SPC products ranging in formats and price points from a 3.2mm with an attached underlayment in a 12-mil construction, all the way up to a 6.5mm multi-width, multi-length product. It also has a 5mm loose-lay product with a 22-mil wear layer that is solid vinyl and fiberglass reinforced as well as a 2.5mm, 20-mil, glue-down product. “We’ll be offering a glue-down in a 2mm, 8-mil format by the end of this year,” Syler said.
To help bolster relationships, the company is hitting the streets. “We’re going to start developing and gaining boots on the ground,” Syler said. “We’re going to start having people who can go out, shake hands, know their customers, know their businesses and be there to support them. The industry has lost a little bit of that in its analytics and in its optimizations. It has lost some of its personal relations with its customers.”
A look ahead
Bella Flooring Group is looking to hit the ground running with several new introductions throughout 2019. On the docket are wall coverings, laminate flooring, engineered hardwood and other specialty products. Currently in development are some new hard surface and carpet tile products that, according to Syler, have not been available in the market currently.
“At our heart, we’re an innovation-based company,” he said. “We have some new composites and polymers that we’re working with to create some new hard surface products that move away from PVC and film in general—and some even moving away from wear layers. We’re also working to create new products that eliminate some of the failing points—delamination, wear through, pattern repeats—as well as a more sustainable polymer sourcing system that’s better for both the pocketbook and the environment.”